Young hunter professional Victoria Colvin once again proved unbeatable as she returned to pilot her talented 2019 $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular winner, Private Practice, to the victory in the premier class of WCHR week once again during “Saturday Night Lights” at the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Highlighting FEI jumper competition on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village, Petronella Andersson (SWE) swept the victory in the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic on the field with Stephex Stables’ Davarusa.
Victoria Colvin and Private Practice. Photo © Sportfot
Saturday night’s Hunter Spectacular is the highlight of WEF’s WCHR Hunter Week, which emphasizes the hunter discipline and gives junior, amateur, and professional hunter riders the chance to introduce their horses to the International Arena.
A field of 37 successful horse-and-rider combinations, consisting of winners in the junior, amateur, and professional categories throughout the week, contested the round-one course designed by Patrick Rodes. Out of the original starting line-up, the 12 pairs with the highest scores were invited to return for the second phase of the two-round classic style competition. Both courses were offered at three heights (3’6”, 3’9”, and 4”), and judging was split into three distinguished panels consisting of Rick Fancher and Phoebe Sheets in one panel, Mary Lisa Leffler and Mark Jungherr in another, and Lyman Whitehead with Chris Wynn for the third.
When all combinations had contested the first track, the class’ 2019 winners, Victoria Colvin and Private Practice, once again sat in the top position with an average score of 90.33. Hot on Colvin’s heels, seasoned professional Scott Stewart piloted Private Life into the early second place with 89.16 points. Ten professionals, one junior, and one amateur made up the returning 12 entries.
Victoria Colvin and Private Practice in their winning presentation with ringmaster Steve Rector, WCHR Task Force Chair Carl Weeden, Clement Curtit, Carole David, Tom Wright, owner Brad Wolf, Torrey Hardison, USHJA President Mary Babick, and USHJA Executive Director Kevin Price. Photo © Sportfot
Colvin held the lead from the time she entered the ring as the fifth to go until the time she closed the class, besting her own previous score from round one of 90.33 with an improved 91.83. The victory was Colvin’s second in a row with Brad Wolf’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Lordanos x unknown) and her stunning sixth Hunter Spectacular win since 2012.
“Private Practice is an amazing horse,” Colvin affirmed. “He’s one of my favorite horses, and this class is a blast because we are able to ride under the lights and in the International Arena. They don’t host many hunter classes in this arena anymore so to be able to go back in this ring is a lot of fun.”
Katie Taylor moved up from the third position to second and was a strong contender for the top honor, but fell just short of Colvin after completing the second round with a total of 178.82 points.
Katie Taylor and Kindred. Photo © Sportfot
“It’s incredible to be representing the west coast here tonight,” said Taylor. “ I received the e-mail a few months ago that I had qualified to come and do this, and I’ve always wanted to be a part of this class.
“We were going to send my horse out here for this but it was a lot to send him just for the week,” she continued.
“I jumped 10 single jumps with [Kindred] this morning and just loved everything about him, so they were kind enough to let me show him tonight,” Taylor commented of Gabrielle Sokolow’s eight-year-old Warmblood gelding.
Third-place honors were awarded to veteran hunter professional Scott Stewart aboard his trusted mount, Private Life, with a total combined score of 177.82.
Scott Stewart and Private Life. Photo © Sportfot
“I was really pleased with Private Life. He hasn’t shown since the National Horse Show and he had a month off after that so we had to get him fit again,” explained Stewart of Dr. Betsee Parker’s nine-year-old KWPN gelding (Verdi x Pinot Rosso). “Tonight, his best round was his final round but he’s always very dependable and he’s still fairly young so I’m excited to have him.”
Final Results: $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular
Horse, Rider, Owner
Round 1 total | Round 2 total | Overall total
1 Private Practice, Victoria Colvin, Brad Wolf
90.33 | 91.83 | 182.16
2 Kindred, Katie Taylor, Gabrielle Sokolow
88.66 | 90.16 | 178.82
3 Private Life, Scott Stewart, Dr. Betsee Parker
89.16 | 88.66 | 177.82
4 Seaside, Augusta Iwasaki, Eliza Kimball
85.50 | 91.33 | 176.83
5 Big Shot, Jenny Karazissis, Dulcie Lou Morris,
86.00 | 89.33 | 175.33
6 Heaven’s Dream, Kate Conover, Isabella Griffin
86.83 | 88.41 | 175.24
7 Carento, Elizabeth Towell Boyd, Sherri Crawford
84.50 | 89.66 | 174.16
8 Luminosity, Geoffrey Hesslink, Sabrina Hellman
85.83 | 88.16 | 173.99
9 Ocean Road, John French, Keri Kampsen & Lexi Reed
85.16 | 87.00 | 172.16
10 Tufton Avenue, Stephanie Danhakl, Stephanie Danhakl
84.66 | 86.91 | 171.57
11 In Writing, Kelley Farmer, Larry Glefke & Wendy Hofmeister
85.66 | 85.75 | 171.41
12 Park City, Holly Orlando, Privet Farm LLC
83.66 | 84.66 | 168.32